After just about edging past Real Betis at the weekend, Atlético Madrid host Eibar in the Copa del Rey on Thursday evening as both sides chase a place in the semi-final.
The red and whites will be looking for a good performance in response to their recent critics ahead of the second leg, and are expected to name a strong XI in the midst of a busy run.
Kick-off at the Vicente Calderón is set for 19:15 CET.
“Winning is the most important thing”, said Simeone after Saturday’s unspectacular win over Betis, and whilst the performance won’t be one for the grandchildren, it’s that approach that has taken us so far.
What fans really want is trophies having not done so now since 2014 – a relative drought for Cholo‘s standards – the Copa del Rey represents a good chance to lift some silverware this season.
However, Eibar are always a difficult team to play against and will be just as enthusiastic ahead of the match, and have the chance to reach their first ever cup semi-final.
Last year, Celta Vigo sprung a surprise at the Calderón and Las Palmas also took the win in the last 16 a week ago, which will provide the visitors with some inspiration coming into the tie.
Reports suggest that it will be a near full strength line-up from the rojiblancos, although Gabi and Godín could be given a rest with Juanfran likely to come back into the XI.
Up front, Gameiro or Correa will partner Antoine Griezmann, and Nico Gaitán is set to keep his place after scoring the winner on Saturday with Yannick Carrasco starting his first game of 2017 on the other wing.
Jan Oblak, Augusto, Tiago and Lucas are still sidelined, as is goalkeeper Bernabé who became the third Atleti ‘keeper to take a place on the treatment table after suffering a shoulder injury earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, Thomas is at the African Cup of Nations and earned praise for his performance in Ghana’s group opener against Uganda on Tuesday, which they won 1-0.
Eibar on the other hand will be without Asier Riesgo, Iván Ramis, Anaitz Arbilla, Kike García and Nano due to injury. Midfielder Dani García is rested.
Both sides have important La Liga games at the weekend, with Eibar hosting Barcelona and Atleti travelling to Athletic Bilbao, before returning to the Basque Country next Wednesday for the second leg.
Atlético match selection
Goalkeepers: Moyá, Moreira
Defenders: Godín, Filipe, Savic, Vrsaljko, Juanfran, Giménez
Midfielders: Koke, Saúl, Carrasco, Gabi, Gaitán, Keidi
Forwards: Griezmann, Torres, Correa, Gameiro